As I tucked my 4-year-old into bed the other night, he asked me, "Mommy, how will I get out the front door if there is a fire?" We just moved into this house not long ago and the locks are different than the ones at our other house.
"You just put the key into the lock and turn it."
"But, I can't reach the key."
"We will put it where you can reach it."
"How about the lock at the back door that goes out to the pool? How will I open that door?"
"Well, I really don't want you to open that door right now. I don't want you to go out and get into the pool and get hurt."
"But, what if there is a bad guy or a fire and I can't get out the other doors?"
I just stared at him.
My eyes welled up with the tears. (I wasn't expecting that.)
"You are so precious."
"But, what if, Mommy?"
I just stared at him some more. He had me lost in thought.
Thoughts about losing him to a bad guy. Or a fire. Or a drowning.
The tears welled up some more.
"We will fix it, precious boy. We will make sure you can get out that door and that the pool or bad guy or a fire won't hurt you." (We are in the process of getting a gate for the pool.)
I know he's mine, but...that child is gold.
And, he didn't come easy.
When we set out on the course to have him, complete with all of the heartache, effort, time and cost, there was no way of truly knowing the reward.
I still don't know it completely.
I didn't know he was going to make me laugh so hard.
I didn't know he would try to help his great-grandmother to her car.
I didn't know he would love helping us at the grocery store.
I didn't know he would want to help me clean.
I didn't know his eyes would be so blue.
I didn't know his hair would be the same exact color as mine.
I didn't know he would be best friends with his brother.
I didn't know he would want me to scratch his back at night.
I didn't know he would already not want me to hug and kiss him in front of his friends by the time he reached preschool.
I didn't know he would be so tall.
I didn't know he was have his Daddy's face.
I didn't know he would be so proud of helping me rake the leaves in the yard.
I didn't know he would be so persistent and keep trying to scale a rock wall until I said it was time to go.
I didn't know he would care so much about other people's feelings.
I didn't know he would want me to sing "Away In A Manger" every night before bed well after Christmas had passed.
This is all not to say that he never gets in trouble or does anything that he shouldn't. Of course, it doesn't. It's just to say that we will never truly know the magnitude of the love we will feel for a child until that child is our very own, whether that child is a biological one or an adopted one. As I trudged to and from doctors' offices during our infertility struggles to have him, I had my eye on the prize, but I had no way of knowing just how absolutely precious that prize would be.
He was worth every failed pregnancy test. Worth every month that I realized I wasn't pregnant. Worth every tear. Worth every feeling of despair I had. Worth every amount of pain I endured. Worth every comment I absorbed from people who meant well, but didn't have comforting words to say. Worth the many, many, many trips to the doctor way across town. Worth every last cent. Worth every moment my heart ached not knowing if he would ever be mine.
I wrote about my other son and our struggles to have him in the post "The Story Of My Son" that you can read here. He is 8 now and is gold to me, too. If you struggle with infertility or struggle with the knowledge that you may not have a child of your own someday for whatever reason, please know that I am here to talk with you about it all. You can e-mail me at anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.